More details in investigation of Nickey Van Exel for murder

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Nickey Van Exel — the son of long-time veteran NBA point guard and current Hawks staff member Nick Van Exel — is currently out on bail, but more details on what happened the night he shot someone have been released and the story just continues to get more sad.

Nickey Van Exel and Bradley Bassey Eyo had been friends for about a dozen years, having played basketball together and lived basically across the street from one another. The Dallas Morning News picks up the details from there.

At about 1 a.m. Sunday, Eyo went across the street to visit Van Exel at his home in the 6900 block of George Brown Drive in Garland. Documents say that Van Exel aimed his parents’ shotgun at his friend’s chest and fired.

Van Exel wrapped Eyo’s body, dragged it downstairs into the garage and loaded it in the back of a 2001 Chevy SUV, detectives wrote in an arrest affidavit.

About 8:30 that same morning, a man called police to report a body near the park on Barnes Bridge Road in Dallas. The affidavit stated that Eyo’s body was missing a pair of Nike Air Jordan shoes, two cellphones and jewelry.

After dumping Eyo’s body, Van Exel went back to his home and cleaned the blood from the bedroom and the SUV, detectives wrote in the affidavit. He then drove to the 9600 block of Forest Lane in northwest Dallas and threw the shotgun in a creek, police said. Dallas police are still trying to find the weapon.

Three days later Nickey Van Exel, accompanied by his attorney, turned himself in to Dallas police. He made $25,000 bail the next day. Van Exel has been charged with murder, although that could be dropped to manslaughter.

Paul Johnson, Van Exel’s attorney, told The Associated Press that his client told police he shot Eyo while the two were engaged in horseplay.

After the shooting, Van Exel panicked and moved the body, Johnson said.
“It’s a real sad situation,” Johnson said. “Emotions are running high, and, obviously, we recognize that some very bad decisions were made on how he responded.”

As you might imagine, the father of the deceased is not thrilled about the idea of a reduced charge.

“If it was accidental, he wouldn’t have gone to dump his body at the lake. He could’ve called 911,” Oyo Eyo said. “I don’t know what transpired in the house. Maybe it was premeditated, I don’t know, but how can he point a shotgun at his friend?”

It’s all just sad.

Report: Celtics focused on adding All-Star-caliber frontcourt player

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Isaiah Thomas said he he’d happily forgo a renegotiation-and-extension if the Celtics use their cap space to upgrade their roster.

Where are they looking?

A. Sherrod Blakey of CSN New England:

Multiple league sources have told CSNNE.com in recent weeks that the Celtics are focused on landing an All-Star caliber talent in the frontcourt.

In the last three years, 22 frontcourt players have been All-Stars. Boston already has one: Al Horford. Could the Celtics land any of the other 22?

Almost certainly unavailable

Free agency

Trade

Free agency or trade

  • Pau Gasol (Though Gasol said he’d opt in, San Antonio might try pushing him out to pursue Paul. If Gasol opts in, the Spurs could also trade him to clear space for Paul.)
  • Dirk Nowitzki (The Mavericks have a $25 million team option on Nowitzki for next season. Nowitzki going to Boston, via trade or free agency, would probably require a mutual agreement between Dallas and him that pursuing a title elsewhere is the right way for him to end his career.)

Report: Spurs exploring Chris Paul pursuit

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The Clippers are taking the Chris Paul-to-Spurs rumors seriously.

And apparently so are the Spurs.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The San Antonio Spurs are exploring the feasibility of making a free-agent run at All-Star point guard Chris Paul, league sources told ESPN.

San Antonio must complete three difficult objectives to land Paul:

  • Clear cap space. Even if they trim their roster to Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Danny Green and Tony Parker, the Spurs would still have to dump two of them to clear max room. Can they convince Gasol to reverse course and opt out, maybe re-signing at a major discount? Would they trade Parker, who has meant so much to the franchise? Would they deal Aldridge or Green, players who would make major contributions to a Leonard/Paul-led team?
  • Convince Paul to accept a projected max of $152 million over four years rather than the projected $205 million he could get over five years from the Clippers. Although the annual difference is just $3 million and Paul could sign another deal in four years, it’s unlikely he recoups that at age 36.
  • Convince Paul to leave big-market L.A. for small-market San Antonio. Remember, Paul forced his way from small-market New Orleans then ascended into one of the NBA’s biggest endorsement stars.

The Spurs boast a fantastic basketball culture, and Leonard and Popovich make great partners in a championship chase. There are reasons San Antonio is gaining traction with Paul.

But there’s still a lot for the Spurs to overcome. Will they? At least they’re trying rather than just dismissing the plot as unfeasible.

Cleveland GM David Griffin: “I hope everybody says we have no chance”

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The Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the NBA title. According to bovda.lv, bet $100 on the Warriors to win the title and you get $41.7 dollars. Bet $100 on the Cavaliers and you get $200. And that number is likely to get worse for Warriors fans.

The Cavaliers are okay with that. They like being the underdogs. Look at what GM David Griffin said in a televised interview after they eliminated the Celtics in Game 5, via Cleveland.com.

“I hope everybody says we have no chance,” General Manager David Griffin said during a TV interview following the Cavaliers’ 135-102 win Thursday night against the Boston Celtics, clinching a third straight NBA Finals appearance.

“Obviously the team we’re playing is as good as you can possibly put together, it’s going to be an unbelievable battle for us, but I think [the Cavs] love battling together. The greater the odds, the better we seem to play together. We really do rally around each other in that sense.”

There is some truth to that.

There’s also a difference between that truth and slowing Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. How the Cavaliers are going to do that will be the interesting part of these playoffs.

Detroit’s Van Gundy honored for cooperation with media, fans

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons has won the Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors an NBA coach for his cooperation with media and fans, as well as excellence on the court.

The Professional Basketball Writers Association announced the winner Friday. Van Gundy was one of five finalists for the award. The others were Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets, Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets, David Fizdale of the Memphis Grizzlies and Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics.

Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors won the award last season.